The Colts have absolute faith that Peyton Manning will be on the field when they need him to be.
It now appears they are endorsing rookie quarterback Curtis Painter as his backup -- and the guy likely to get the bulk of the work in late-season games they rate as meaningless.
The team put veteran backup Jim Sorgi on injured reserve Wednesday with a shoulder injury. That means Painter is first in line behind Manning and as the scout team quarterback who helps the defense prepare during the week.
The team took a look at J.P. Losman last week but didn’t make a move with him. Perhaps he’s their back burner guy and something could still happen.
The team also cut Shane Boyd from the practice squad, adding quarterback Drew Willy to replace him. Willy, a rookie out of Buffalo, originally signed as a free agent with Baltimore.
Manning and the Colts can clinch homefield advantage through the playoffs Sunday with a win over Denver. If they do, indications are they will not put an emphasis on trying to go 16-0 and will ease up and rest people as they’ve done in the past.
That could mean limited or no work for Manning. Sorgi has played in 16 games in six seasons with the bulk of that action coming in those late-season situations.
The Colts drafted Painter out of Purdue in the sixth round, 201st overall and have been impressed enough with him that they invested a roster spot in the third quarterback despite knowing the odds of needing him on a Sunday were incredibly small.